Tara red carpet

What is the coolest experience for an international student studying in the U.S. in your mind? Getting a 4.0 GPA in school? No way. There are many 4.0 students out there, including a silly girl like me. Blogging for Voice of America's Student Union? Yeah, that is pretty cool, since you are like the voice of your home country on the platform of Voice of America.

But, I had a guaranteed cooler experience last week: partying with Oscar Best Picture Nominees, including actresses Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, director Tom Hooper (of The King's Speech) and more, in the LA mayor's mansion!

That was amazing!

I do not really like the word "amazing" in English, because I think Americans use it too much on things that are actually not amazing at all. However, the Nominees' Night party deserved any word that is for fantastic things.

Think about it. You are around A-list movie stars and directors in Hollywood (some of whom became Oscar winners on Sunday) and you talk and have drinks with them, all in a privately closed atmosphere, rather than screaming out their names outside the security barrier - isn't it really fantastic? Besides that, you will be under the limelight of your friends, which is kind of relief after not getting the attention from paparazzi at the party. :)

Tara before party

I know you guys are curious about which celebrities showed up. Based on my vague memories, there was Amy Adams, Mila Kunis, Hailee Steinfeld, Beverly Johnson, Sharon Stone, and too many other popular names from the big screen!!

Check out the Hollywood Reporter's photo gallery from that night to see if your favorite star was there.

You may also want to know how an ordinary Chinese girl got an opportunity that many Americans do not even have. That is pretty simple. I am going to the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and I got an internship with The Hollywood Reporter, which is a really influential trade magazine in the entertainment business, and that is it. If you are working in the a mainstream media in Hollywood, it is pretty easy to get close to those celebrity parties, but luck plays the key role.

Here is a picture of the interns at that party. We are all from USC!

Tara at checkin

I guess you would also love to hear gossip about celebrities, right? Okay, I can reveal a little bit here.

Gossip No.1 Celebrities drive very ordinary cars in daily life. Since it was kind of a private party inside the industry, the stars basically drove themselves rather than coming in a limo. You could not really tell the mayor's house was full of Oscar nominees from their cars. There were Chrysler PT Cruisers, Audi A6s, and Mini Coopers parking along the street, rather than Ferraris and Bentleys.

Gossip No.2 Some of the actresses are shorter than you see on the TV - just around 5'2 or 5'3 - but their faces are perfect. 100% celebrity looks. You may have figured out who I am referring to. :)

Gossip No.3 Celebrities love free cosmetics. The party was partly sponsored by L'Oreal, so we put free samples of L' Oreal products, like lipsticks, eyeshadows and mascaras, out for guests to pick up. I thought those starlets would only want expensive makeup brands like Dior or Laura Mercier, but it turned out that they grabbed those L'Oreal samples without any hesitation. Isn't it pretty funny?